Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. It's nice to see a slew of exotics alongside sport compacts. The newest Need for Speed may be the most wanted of the season, being one of the best racing games for now.
  2. 90
    Making a name for youself by climbing the game's Black List, aka series of bad-ass mo-fos you must beat, is good fun.
  3. Wanted's story won't win any awards, and the game would still be tremendous fun without it, but it gives your racing added significance.
  4. 85
    The stylistic presentation and graphic sensibilities are impressive, and they're complemented by excellent engine sound effects and smart cop chatter.
  5. While I yearned for a little more in a few areas (difficulty curve and graphical polish in particular), the overall experience lies somewhere between the first "Underground" and the second...meaning it's easy fun, but not genre-defining. [Dec 2005, p.148]
  6. It's been missing for a while, but the simple inclusion of the police catapults Most Wanted into one of the best racers in recent history.
  7. The actual racing hasn't changed too much, but the ever-present police make this game a whole lot more interesting.
  8. Most Wanted brings the police back in force, and the game benefits greatly from it.
  9. Another solid addition to the Need For Speed franchise, even if it does have a few annoying flaws here and there.
  10. This may be one of the smoothest racers ever, and definitely a most-wanted on my list. [Jan 2006, p.115]
  11. 80
    I'm personally glad to have crawled out from "Underground" and to have started something fresh, even if it is a rehashed concept.
  12. 80
    With three dozen licensed cars ranging from the new Mustang to the perennial street racing favorite Subaru STi, a meaty 15-20 hour story mode and loads of optional challenges beyond that, Most Wanted is one game you're going to be playing into the wee hours.
  13. The addition of smart and relentless police pursuers has reinvigorated this popular driving series.
  14. 77
    The only thing stopping it achieving a better score are the aforementioned niggles coupled with some below par AI. Their computer-controlled abilities switch from laughably amateur to 'one mistake and its race over' Terminator-style brutality in a matter of moments which seems more than a little unfair.
  15. A solid, fun racer, but its repetitive single-player events and limp four-player online multi (Xbox only) sap its power. [Jan 2006, p.120]
  16. The story mode does provide a challenge and will last most around the 15 hour mark, however once that's past the game has very little to offer largely because of the fundamental online options.
  17. It seems obvious, now, that this game is for the hardcore Need for Speed fan. If you love the series, get it; it's a marked improvement.
  18. It's a nice, clean package that delivers enough hi-octane chases and enjoyment to warrant a purchase. [Christmas 2005, p.121]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 19 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Aug 3, 2013
    One of my all time favourite car games and to this day I compare the fun I have with modern racers to the fun I had back in the day. I remember thinking that the graphics were just incredible and they still haven't aged that badly! So if you're looking for a genuinely fun experience and are looking for a car game that is cheap, look no further if you own an older console. Full Review »
  2. Mar 20, 2013
    Need for Speed: Most Wanted is one of the first games I played for a console. It is also in my top 5 favorite video games of all time! First, I will mention its minor flaws because there are not that many. One thing that bugged me was that sometimes you could spend more than ten minutes on one race, be in first place for 98% of the time, start to get weak from this massive race, understandably crash and lose, wasting more than ten minutes of precious time. The larger races only happen near the end, so at least it's not too common. Furthermore, many times when I got to the pick a perk from the Blacklist racer I beat the game froze, making me have to race the boss again. I had to beat Razor three times before it didn't freeze, which was frustrating. My friend had the same problem, so I doubt it is the disc. Also, in my opinion, the challenge series got way too hard towards the higher numbers, but was a great, fun break from the game otherwise! The graphics are absolutely phenomenal, especially for the GameCube! I love the original style they came up with (kind of sepia with a lot of fog)! Every element feels so right on and flawless such as, the rewarding experience of unlocking cars, cities, and tune ups. I like the amount of cars and the models of cars they chose. It's not so many that it depreciates the experience, but still a good selection. The story is truly engaging and original and the bosses of the Blacklist are so fun to beat. Every character in the game is so detailed and makes you feel like they are real people. Mia actually feels like your friend to back you up, Razor actually feels like a tool along with many of the other racers, and Sgt. Cross actually feels like a corrupt cop on your case. The music choice is great and really sets the atmosphere. This game was so good that I went back to make another career, and sadly, I did not have the time to finish it. The cops in this game are really quite a treat. I love how detailed and complex the chases are and how challenging it gets at 5x heat. The cop AI is kind of dumb though, if you go on top of the buses by the bus station, they will just repeatedly ram their cars into the buses, instead of actually going up the ramp to get to you. Another minor complaint is that the way the cops catch you is kind of lame considering they do not even get out of their cars. To be honest, the physics in this game and the reality level are both ridiculous. That is actually part of the reason it is so good. It is an experience you could only game about because, otherwise, your car would be nonexistent if you tried to ram it 180 mph at a wall. I could go on and on of its strong points and aspects like the phone, variety of races, beautiful cut-scenes, and exhilarating feeling of driving the Porsche Carrera GT, because the game is near perfect. This review is already much longer than I desired. Overall, a choice title for the GameCube that is still platinum even by today's standards, and many more modern games should make this title their inspiration. Full Review »
  3. May 29, 2012
    Probably the best Need for Speed ever made. Includes the cool tuning from Underground and the police pursuits from Hot Pursuit. The city is huge and there are lots of miles of road for the player to explore. There are lots of elements to destroy (gas stations, shops, signs...). Very long and fun game. Full Review »